The world has changed. The way of doing business is changing. How we communicate is changing. The traditional methods of communication are changing. How have companies communicated with clients and prospects in the past? Most smart sales people seek to build dependable referral lead sources consisting of clients, centers of influence and very important people. Although these are proven strategies for increasing sales success, this lead generation method takes considerable time. It could take months and sometimes years! Most companies can be rather impatient. This puts pressure on sales people to generate sales immediately! Businesses must produce sales to remain profitable. What are your choices? Some Fortune 500 companies have adapted to the change. Unfortunately, small and medium sized companies have not gotten the message yet. Most have not adapted to this change.
Mike Volpe, Vice-President of Hubspot agrees. He conducted a webinar on the impact of social media on marketing a couple months ago. The old traditional methods: cold calling, direct mail marketing, advertising and trade shows are less effective today. Americans are bombarded with marketing and advertising everyday! Everybody is trying to sell you something everyday and all the time! Consumers and prospective buyers are blocking out these messages. There is the “Do Not Call List” that prevents unwanted telemarketing calls. Additionally, the federal government passed the Can Spam Act which blocks unwanted emails. Tivo allows television watchers to bypass the commercials. Sirius and XM digital radio have no advertising at all!
Major newspaper and television companies are losing advertising revenue and downsizing and laying off employees. Do you watch television or listen to the radio, read the newspaper or magazines for the ads? Advertising is expensive and most times produces a low return on investment. Here in Atlanta, Georgia, I noticed that the price of Atlanta Journal Constitution daily newspaper is now 75 cents. When did it go up? The old price was 50 cents. That is an increase of fifty percent! With decreasing revenues, perhaps the AJC had no choice. Business owners are now analyzing their return on investment on advertising. Now they are implementing alternative marketing strategies via the web! Many major corporations are advertising online by flocking to social media sites. YouTube, My Space, Facebook, and Linkedin, are attracting millions of subscribers. Likewise, Fortune 500 companies are connecting with those subscribers online and spending millions of dollars!
Selling is a tough business. Here are the facts about sales and marketing:
o The average company brand awareness is 7 percent.
o Ninety percent of people connected are not ready to buy.
o A new sale might take 8 to 15 touches with a prospect.
o The average sales person makes 1 to 2 calls and quits and never calls again!
o Fifty percent of all buyers purchase within 6 to 18 months.
If selling is such a tough business, what questions should you ask of yourself and your company?
o What is your brand awareness?
o How do your clients and prospects recognize your products and services?
o What do they say about you and your company?
o What are you doing to stay in front on your best prospects?
o How are you connecting and improving your relationship with your clients?
o What tools are you using to engage your clients and prospects?
o How are you using technology to enhance your image?
o How are you using technology to demonstrate that you are better than the competition?
The traditional methods for prospecting and selling no longer work as well. Most sales people still cold call and telemarket, send mass direct mail via U.S. Postal service, attend networking and trade shows. Most sales people who do not have a prospect database must find clients by reading local newspapers and magazines, buying leads for a database company, searching directories for the best prospects and “smiling and dialing” the Yellow Pages . Although sales professionals should never abandon these methods, they must adapt and continue to thrive in this tough business environment.
The key is to find ways to attract your best prospects. People want to buy. They do not want to be sold! In the past, prospective buyers needed marketing and sales personnel to get enough information to make a buying decision. Not any more! People are using the power of the Internet and embracing technology! They are using major search engines to find the information that they need.
What does this mean for you and your business? How could this impact your sales and business? If you do a search on your name, company or your keywords that describes your business, what search results do you get? If you are not on the first page, guess who getting the business? Your competition! If you are not actively using the Internet to attract potential and keep clients, start now! You can not afford not to start now! Your business might depend on it! There is plenty of opportunity to build your web presence and digital image. Do not let the Internet and others define you, your brand and company! You have no choice! Take control! The other option is the “smiling and dialing” businesses in the Yellow Pages for eight hours straight!
Here are a few suggestions:
o Conduct a search on your name, company and key words.
o Learn more about the Internet and how to use it to your advantage.
o Start reading business blogs and news releases.
o Discover interesting videos in your industry or profession.
o Join a social network to connect with potential clients and referral sources.
o Start blogging your personal views and observations within your industry.
o Start video and audio podcasting.
o Begin writing articles and submitting them to directories that will search your target market.
o Start an electronic newsletter.
o Initiate a monthly or weekly news release promoting your company.
o Review your company website and your SEO parameters and guidelines.
o Offer free trials and tools to encourage prospects to try your products or services.
o Discover what web 2.0 tools that you could use in your business and start using them now!
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